Tag Archives: egg

Spätzle – German Egg Noodles

Årsta fältet, a flat field in a suburb of Stockholm, may not be the most exotic place to visit in the capital city of Sweden. But somewhere in that field I had one of my most peculiar food memories ever. It was there I ate spätzle (or maybe it was Hungarian nokedli) for the first time in my life. The spätzle was served with a rich goulash that we made in a hanging cast-iron pot over an open fire. This is that kind of moment that is hard to recreate.

The goulash was amazing but it was the spätzle that won my heart. Since then I’ve been treated to spätzle again and again and I love it as much every single time. However not many cooks have been able to share their recipe as they cook it by instinct without any instructions. Fair enough, I just had to start figuring out my own way.

I started by playing around with different recipes I found online. The result was often not that great which probably had more to do with the choice of flour than the recipe. I discovered that, for example, pastry flour (why use that in the first place?) made the batter taste really floury in an unpleasant way. I also tried adding fresh grated potatoes but then it became halušky (potato noodles). At some point I gave up and started to use just regular wheat flour. The result made me very happy and pleased!

Recently I followed Steen Hanssen’s recommendation to use dinkelmehl (spelt flour). The spätzle became darker and had a slight nutty taste. I liked it.

for the batter
(2-3 people)

3 eggs (depending on size)
¼ cup of lukewarm water
about 1¼  cups of spelt flour or regular flour
pinch of salt
some freshly grated nutmeg
a couple of tablespoons of butter

Heat up some water until its just lukewarm. Mix together eggs, water, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Gradually start adding flour, little by little. Make sure to avoid creating lumps. The dough has got enough flour when its a little stretchy and easily falls off you spatula without breaking. If you get the dough too stiff, just add some more water. Let the dough rest for about half an hour.

There are many different ways to “form” the spätzle and its probably very individual which method you may prefer. I have tried some techniques with more or less success. I think using a spätzle lid is the easiest and my kitchen doesn’t ends up in a mess (see image above).

Heat up some salted water in a large pot that will fit the spätzle lid nicely (see below for other methods). Bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat. Place the lid on top of the pot and add ¼ of the dough on top. Start to press the dough down with a spatula (often comes w/ the lid). Stir around the spätzle a little so they don’t stick together. The spätzle are done after about 2-3 minutes when they float up to the surface. Use a skimming ladle to fish them up. Repeat above steps until the dough is finished. Adjust the heat if necessary. Add some melted butter to the spätzle so they don’t stick together.

Serve the  spätzle with a rich goulash, creamy mushrooms or baked in the oven topped with cheese.

Other methods (and there are more)
Another technique is to use a pasta strainer, preferably those with larger wholes. My stainless steel strainer worked fine, even if it was a little clumsy, the spätzle came out pretty nice, tiny and delicate! Just let the strainer rest at an angle on the edge of the pot (see image above) and use a soft spatula to press down the batter through the holes into the hot water.

If you want larger spätzle you can use a smaller chopping board and a chef knife or a bench scraper. Place one batch of dough on the chopping board and let it rest at an angle at the edge of the pot. Start to cut small pieces of the dough right into the boiling water. It worked okay and probably would be better with practice.

Recipe and drawings was originally published at EcoSalon, on 11 March 2012

Äggakaga (Eggy Cake)

Äggakaga (Eggy Cake) is a South Swedish thick pancake that’s baked on top of the stove. This cake is rich in eggs and baked with plenty of butter and pork fat (not for a slim diet). Its creamy and hearty and fills the stomach with pleasure and warmth. Traditionally the cake is served for both lunch or dinner with plenty of smoked bacon and lingonberry jam. As a lunch it will give you strength for a hard day’s work. For dinner it gives you comfort and a good night’s sleep. It will also be enjoyable as a brunch served with ale instead of mimosas.

My version is made with an addition of fresh rosemary and brown sugar is used instead of regular white sugar. The rosemary works really well with smoked bacon and adds a nice touch to this old traditional dish.

Äggakaga with Rosemary 
for 2 servings

4 eggs
1 2/3 cup (400 ml) milk
¾ cup (175 ml) regular flour
1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

plenty of butter for frying

½ lb (250 g) smoked bacon, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk them together with the milk. Add salt and sugar. Sift the flour into the batter little by little to avoid lumps. The mixture is done when all is well mixed and has become a smooth batter. Let it rest on the counter while you fry the smoked bacon. Add the rosemary to the bacon when its almost done. Set the bacon aside and reserve the fat, as that will be use when cooking the pancake.

The pancake should be about 1- 1 ½” thick so a regular frying pan (about 10″-11″ wide) that can fit the whole batter will work perfectly. Heat up the pan  and melt a large lump of butter. Lower the heat to medium and pour in the batter. With a spatula, scrape the bottom and move the firm batter into the middle of the pan to prevent the mixture being burnt. Continue until all batter is firm. Turn the cake by covering the pan with a plate before turning. Add some more butter if necessary before sliding the cake onto the pan again, raise the temperature slightly and cook until the cake has browned underneath. Turn one more time. This time add the bacon fat before sliding the cake onto the pan. The cake is done when it’s golden brown on both sides.

Top the cake with the fried Rosemary bacon and enjoy with lingonberry (or cranberry jam). Best served with either milk or beer.

This recipe was first published at Honest Cooking26 January 2012.

Vanilla Ice Cream (guest post)

This summer a friend asked me what was the maximum temperature that egg yolks should reach while making ice cream. He was a little upset as many ice cream recipes aren’t clear about that. He’d just experienced what happens when you heat up the eggs too high! It separates! As it was a shamelessly long time ago that I made my own ice cream I couldn’t answer him. A few days later when I was reading Johan Kohnke’s Vanilla Ice Cream recipe (below) I was happy to see that he very carefully described every step.
With this guest post I think its time for me to start making ice cream again. I especially love vanilla ice cream, but this recipe can be a fantastic base to add other flavors to. I will definitely make my other favorites: fig, pistachio or salt-licorice. Thanks Johan!

(damn good) Vanilla Ice Cream
by Johan Kohnke

100 years ago,  ice cream (and chocolate) became more common in Sweden.  Ever since then, the Industry has made efforts to cultivate the taste of ice cream and make it more economically. Still, there are few things in life that beats ice cream made at home. Home-made vanilla ice cream contains cream, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla bean.
At Savoy Hotel, Malmö (Sweden) they always have a bucket of their own vanilla ice cream. It’s served in simple silver bowls. To sneak a scoop from the cold-buffet manageress was the absolute prime joy of the day. You can play with flavors endlessly but I stick to just plain vanilla ice cream. If there are no fresh or frozen berries to serve warm with the ice cream, then a simple chocolate sauce is super. It’s the simplest thing in the world: Mix together one dl sugar, one dl cacao, one dl water. Bring to a boil and let cook to a just thick enough consistency. You can make the sauce any time but the ice cream needs at least two days to be really good.

Vanilla Ice Cream
(about half a liter)

5 dl half & half (or 50 milk and 50 heavy cream)
115 gram egg yolk (grrr so complicated: use about 5-6 egg yolks if you don’t have a scale)
125 gram sugar, (1.75 dl)
17.5 gram honey, (one large table spoon)
one half or a whole vanilla pod (depending on the size and the taste)

Whip sugar and egg yolks until the sugar has dissolved and the batter feels airy.
Scrape out the beans from the vanilla pod and place pod and beans together with the half & half in a saucepan. Heat the cream mixture to just about 100ºC. The liquid should just simmer and not boil. Add the honey.
I have a digital thermometer to specifically control the next step. Pour in the sugar and egg yolk batter. Whip like crazy and let the temperature just reach 82ºC. (Any higher temperature and the ice cream mixture will be wasted!!!) Cool the whole thing immediately in a water bath in your kitchen sink. The temperature should reach 8ºC before placing in the fridge for 8 hours. Its no good skipping this part, I have tried! If you do, you just better buy ice cream instead! The fat in egg yolk needs time to swell, end of story!
Before you run the batter in an ice cream maker, fish out the vanilla pod. Store in the freezer and you have simple vanilla ice cream at hand for your special treats.
The recipe is adapted from the Swedish confectioner Mikael Palm’s ”gräddglass” recipe.

See other posts by Johan Kohnke here on Kokblog.


Underground Potato Pancakes

Just want to announce that I was the winner of the Foodie Underground competition over at Ecosalon last week. It was part of the one year celebration of Anna Brones’s column Foodie Underground. Happy Birthday! This was the winning entry (I’m deeply flattered)!


What can be  more foodie underground than making potato pancakes while house squatting in London? The fact is that next door to the Rolling Stones in Chelsea my husband M learned how to make Potato Pancakes. It was during the punk era and M had just been thrown out from home. House squatting was just one way to survive while struggling with his studies at AA.

The recipe is simple: (for two people) Peel two potatoes. Cut them in smaller pieces and mash them in a blender. If the potatoes are to watery you need to squeeze out some of the liquid before adding two small eggs. When the mixture are well blended add some flour and season with salt. Pour about five – six small amounts of batter into a standard frying pan on medium heat. Fry them with some olive oil or butter until they are golden brown, turning once only.

The pancakes can be served with many different things. Back in Chelsea M ate them with just butter and sugar. Today we serve them with a variety of small sides, for example lingonberry jam, freshly grated carrots, sautéed bacon pieces, goat cheese mixed with sour cream and caviar.